Wednesday, March 27, 2013

San Mateo Mayor David Lim’s home remodel challenged

March 27, 2013, 05:00 AM
By Bill Silverfarb Daily Journal

Homeowners often take issue when someone in their neighborhood wants to remodel or add on to their home, but what if that someone is the mayor?

San Mateo Mayor David Lim wants to construct a 109-square-foot first-story addition and a 640-square-foot second-story addition to his growing family’s Sugarloaf Neighborhood home and filed an application with the city last July.

Through the process, Lim held a pre-application neighborhood meeting to spell out to those who live nearby what his construction plans were.

One neighbor’s home, however, will lose part of its 180-degree view of the Bay with Lim’s addition, which initially called for building about 800 square feet on the second floor.

So, Lim scaled the project back and was eventually granted permission by a city zoning administrator to move forward with the project.

The neighbors with the great view, however, filed an appeal with the city’s Planning Commission within 10 days after approval to try and reverse the zoning administrator’s decision.

The neighbors, Terry Larson and Megan Goggins, paid $515 to appeal the decision but the process will end up costing the Lim family an additional $4,400 to pay for city staff time and other expenses, he told the Daily Journal yesterday.

In the meantime, Lim is still working with his neighbors to find a solution outside of the city process.  He is also not sure whether he will appeal himself to the City Council if the Planning Commission sides with the appellant and turns down Lim’s application.

The appellant can also appeal to the City Council if the Planning Commission sides with Lim.

So concerned about any potential conflicts of interest, however, Lim sent a letter to the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission for advice, especially since the city at the time was entangled in the 7-Eleven controversy in which Lim was directly involved.

Lim asked specifically whether it was proper for the same city staff to handle his application while also handling the 7-Eleven situation, which centered on whether the market could continue operating on land zoned residential.

The FPPC ruled that a conflict does not exist and Lim actually entered his letter and the FPPC letter into the record during deliberations related to 7-Eleven.

Outside of those letters, however, Lim has been essentially mum on the matter.  He does not want the public to think he is getting or deserves any special attention related to his remodel application.  In this case, being mayor might actually be a detriment, Lim told the Daily Journal.

The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 9, City Hall, San Mateo.  

(650) 344-5200 ext. 106

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

In Memorium: San Carlos Mayor Randy Royce

It is with sadness I just learned of the passing of San Carlos Mayor Randy Royce.

My thoughts and prayers are with his family and the citizens of San Carlos.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Association of California Chinese Schools Award Winners!

I had the pleasure today of handing out awards at the Association of Northern California Chinese Schools awards ceremony.

Based at Hillsdale High School in San Mateo, for 50 years this group has taught Mandarin Chinese and cultural arts Bay Area students. Congratulations to all the students!

Happy Nowruz -- Persian New Year Celebration in San Mateo

Happy Nowruz! Celebrating the Persian New Year at the San Mateo Main Library. Thank you Iranian-American Advisory Committee for hosting this wonderful event!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Central Neighborhood Association Meeting

Happy to give an update on city issues to the members of the Central Neighborhood Association.

This morning I gave the opening remarks at the California Public Library Advocates workshop.

Libraries are vital to healthy communities, and San Mateo is fortunate to have a top-notched library, library staff, and library board.

If you have not been down to our Main Library on 3rd Ave lately, come on down!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Watching Out for Hidden Mandates By Regional Boards

One of the less glamorous but most important jobs as a City Councilmember is to keep an eye on the numerous regional and state oversight boards that require permits and licenses for communities to operate.

Over the past week I have been watching the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board.  As part of the five-year renewal process for the the City of San Mateo's wastewater treatment plant (which treats all sewage before it is discharged into the Bay), the Regional Water Quality Control Board is introducing language that could require homeowners selling and buying homes to replace their sewer lateral pipes at the time of sale.  Known as a "point-of-sale" contract, this requirement could add up to $15,000 in the cost of buying or selling a home.

Such a requirement could hamper the ability of many members in our community from becoming homeowners.  Young couples, folks with low-to-moderate income, single parents.  A whole host of individuals could be priced out of our community with this requirement, diluting the diversity of our neighborhoods. 

However, after much work with our Public Works staff and other outside organizations, we managed to ascertain that a point of sale contract is not required . . . yet.  As your Councilmember, I will continue to watch this situation closely and advocate aggressively on your behalf. 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Opening Day Little League

It's that time of the year!!! Last week I was happy to open league play for San Mateo American Little League. Today I'm throwing the first pitch for San Mateo National Little League.

Play Ball!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Hillsdale Effect Taco Dinner!

Our local high schools are socially conscious -- and they make great tacos!

Tomorrow night at 5:30 pm at the Hillsdale High cafeteria, "The Hillsdale Effect" will raise money with a taco dinner sale.

All money raised will be used to provide micro loans for women in Guatemala to help them become more self-efficient.

Come on out, eat some tacos, and support a good cause!